Ethos Foundation recommends to support the board of directors and not to approve the election of Mark Kerekes at the extraordinary general meeting to be held on 30 October. This meeting was convened by the group of shareholders led by Sentis Capital (owned by the Russian investor Petr Kondrashev) and other shareholders (together holding 11% of the company's capital) to elect their representative to the board of directors. Meyer Burger's board unanimously recommends that this election be rejected.
Meyer Burger is a Swiss company specialised in the manufacture of machines for the production of solar panels. In recent years, the company has encountered many difficulties, particularly because of its dependence on the Chinese market and the difficulty of protecting its intellectual property. These difficulties led to a change of CEO two years ago and a renewal of its board of directors at the last general meeting with the election of a new chairman. A new strategy was announced in the summer of 2019 aiming at signing partnerships with certain customers who would have exclusive rights to use Meyer Burger's new technologies. In exchange for this exclusivity, Meyer Burger would receive royalties on sales of solar panels.
A group of shareholders formed around the company's largest shareholder, Sentis Capital, controlling all together a total of 11% of the capital, convened an extraordinary general meeting to request the election of a representative to the board of directors. This group of shareholders says they no longer have confidence in the board of directors and wish to appoint Mark Kerekes, co-managing director and member of the board of directors of Sentis Capital, to represent them on the board of Meyer Burger. Following the interview of the candidate by the board of directors and the opinion of an independent firm, the board unanimously recommends not to approve his election. According to the board, Mark Kerekes does not have the necessary experience in the management of listed companies or in the photovoltaic industry.
Ethos invites all Meyer Burger shareholders, both institutional and private, to attend this meeting and exercise their voting rights, so that the decision is not taken by a minority of the capital. In light of the company's strategic realignment and the recent renewal of the board of directors, it is essential to foster constructive cooperation within the board and executive management. These bodies must work together to achieve the important mission of repositioning Meyer Burger to meet the challenges of the future. In his letter to shareholders, Remo Lütolf, the new chairman elected at the annual general meeting in May 2019, notes that the implementation of the new strategy is linked to the presence of Hans Brändle, CEO since 2017. However, according to the company, Sentis has requested the resignation of Hans Brändle, who has indicated that he will resign from his position if Mark Kerekes is elected to the board.
In view of the various letters sent, the statements and public positions of the parties concerned, it appears that significant differences of opinion remain between the board of directors and the group of shareholders led by Sentis Capital. At a crucial point in the company's recovery, Ethos believes that the newly constituted team must be given the time and means to work in a constructive spirit and recommends voting AGAINST the shareholder group's proposal to elect its representative Mark Kerekes to the board.